After Holland America, one of the most famous cruise lines has got to be the Carnival Cruise Lines.

Founded by Ted Arison in 1972, Carnival Cruise line was set up as a subsidiary of AITS (American International Travel Service) owned by Boston-based Meshulam Riklis, a friend of Arison. AITS was to market and promote the new venture. In 1974, due to regulatory issues, Riklis sold AITS’s interest in the company to Arison for $1, but subject to Arison taking over the substantial company debts. The split enabled Arison to enter into new relationships with independent travel agents. He also promoted his cruises to fun-loving younger people. The format was very successful financially. It is headquartered in Miami, Florida.

Carnival Cruise Lines commenced sailings from Miami with their first ship the Mardi Gras in 1972. The cruise line acquired a former Canadian Pacific Line ship and renamed it the Carnivale in 1975 and the third ship in 1978, the TSS Festivale. Seeing the success of the three ships Carnival endeavored to compete with the rival Miami cruise lines and decided to build new ships of their own. In 1982, Carnival introduced their first purpose-built ship, the Tropicale, which was the first ship where the iconic winged funnel was introduced, designed by Joe Farcus, who would become a longtime Carnival Cruise Line design collaborator, which has since been used on all ships in the fleet.

Beginning in 1990, Carnival introduced the popular Fantasy-Class, beginning with the Fantasy, and completed with the eighth in the class Paradise in 1998. In 1996, the new Destiny-class was introduced, with the Carnival Destiny. At 101,000 GT, it became the largest passenger ship in the world at the time and the first to exceed 100,000 tons. In 1998, the seventh ship in the fantasy class, the Elation and The Paradise, in 1998.

Carnival is one of ten cruise lines owned by the world’s largest cruise ship operator, the American-British Carnival Corporation & plc and the group comprises nine cruise line brands which includes sister lines Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, and Cunard Line, among others, and one cruise experience brand operating a combined fleet of 91 ships. In 2018 Carnival Cruise Line was estimated to hold an 8.9% share of cruise industry revenue and 22.0% of passengers. It has 26 vessels and is the largest fleet in the Carnival group. Carnival’s 26 ships depart from, the U.S., which includes Miami, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Seattle, and New York City, and offers cruisers their pick of destinations across Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, Europe, Australia, and the Caribbean, etc. Voyages range from two to 16 days, and each ship carries approximately one crew member for every three passengers.

Carnival Cruise Line, true to its lively reputation with its festive atmosphere and versatile entertainment options offers plenty of activities to keep you entertained. With waterslides, sports courts, casinos, piano bars, comedy acts, and nightclubs, Carnival’s fleet offers guests of all ages something to enjoy. The cruise line’s flair to provide variety applies to onboard cuisine as well, which includes three-course meals served in the main dining room, a Lido deck buffet, and specialty restaurants dishing out everything from Italian and Asian.

Among the fleet of 26 vessels the 3 best cruises are:

Carnival Horizon

Carnival Horizon is one of the fleet’s newer ships. It accommodates 1,450 crew members and a maximum of 5,101 passengers and offers abundant amenities for travelers of all ages. Children can ride the SkyRide suspended bike, play at the Dr. Seuss-themed water park, and climb the ropes course, while parents can lounge on an adults-only deck and pamper themselves at the Cloud 9 Spa. At night, the whole family can enjoy live performances and lip-syncing competitions. With options of 11 eateries, they serve everything from steaks to Italian classics to burgers. The ship also has a variety of cabins for passengers to choose from, ranging from budget-friendly Interior Staterooms to specialty suites with spa, nautical, and Havana themes. Each comes with modern conveniences like a minibar, a flat-screen TV, and a Carnival Comfort bed.

Carnival Glory

Carnival Glory maintains a crew of 1,150 to serve the nearly 3,000 passengers, offering a higher level of personalization than larger ships within the fleet and was outfitted with “Fun Ship 2.0” amenities, which included new dining venues and bars. It also received routine cosmetic enhancements like new carpeting and tile, as well as the Carnival WaterWorks water park. Passengers seeking entertainment will find Playlist Production musicals, as well as family-friendly Hasbro, The Game Show, and comedy acts at The Punchliner Comedy Club. In regards to dining, the ship is equipped with two main dining rooms, a specialty steakhouse and the Lido Deck, which features an extensive buffet, Guy’s Burger Joint, and BlueIguana Cantina. Carnival Glory also offers activities like mini-golf, waterslides, and video arcades. Parents can sip cocktails at eight bars, while kids ages 2 to 17 play in age-appropriate youth clubs. In terms of lodging, the ship offers a variety of options that range from smaller Interior and Ocean View cabins to Balcony and Suite category rooms all of which include flat-screen TVs and 24-hour room service.

Carnival Vista

Carnival Vista is one of the cruise line’s newest and largest ships, welcoming up to 3,934 passengers and 1,450 crew members. The ship offers unique dining, entertainment, and cabin options not found on other ships in the fleet. In addition to kids clubs, an adults-only retreat, and a waterpark, new activities include the SkyRide suspended bike course, the first IMAX theater at sea, and a Dr. Seuss-inspired library. In regards to accommodation typical cabin categories, Interior, Ocean View, Balcony and Suite are available, but cruisers splurge on one of the new cabin types, the Family Harbor or Havana staterooms and suites. The Family Harbor cabins receive exclusive 24-hour lounge access with free breakfast and kid-friendly movies and games. Plus, children staying in these rooms enjoy free meals at most specialty restaurants and a free night of babysitting. Havana category rooms cater to adults, with access to a private bar and pool, as well as extra-large outdoor spaces and rainfall showers in suites. Dining options are just as diverse. While the Lido buffet offers everything from pasta to stir-fry to salad, other complimentary venues include BlueIguana Cantina and Guy’s Burger Joint. A number of specialty restaurants are also available for an extra fee, such as JiJi Asian Kitchen and Cucina del Capitano. 

The other ships in the fleet are Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Sensation, Carnival Elation, Carnival Paradise, Carnival Spirit, Carnival Pride, Carnival Legend, Carnival Miracle, Carnival Conquest, Carnival Valor, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Freedom, Carnival Splendor, Carnival Dream, Carnival Magic, Carnival Breeze, Carnival Sunshine, Carnival Sunrise, Carnival Radiance, Carnival Panorama, and Mardi Gras.

To be continued…